White House rejects request for Trump, Putin communications ,
The White House on Thursday rejected a Democratic request for information on private conversations between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including an interview with an interpreter who sat in on their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki last summer.
In a letter earlier this month, the House intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees asked for the substance of Trump and Putin’s conversations in person and by phone.
They also asked for any documents related to the conversations, information on whether the talks had any impact on U.S. foreign policy, and information on whether Trump tried to conceal any evidence of them.
On Thursday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the Democratic chairmen of the three committees rebuffing all those requests.
Citing Supreme Court precedent, Cipollone wrote that “the conduct of foreign affairs is a matter that the Constitution assigns exclusively to the President.”
The March 4 letters to the White House — signed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings — requested interviews with “linguists ,
Translators or interpreters” who in any way listened to Trump and Putin’s conversations. The two leaders met privately in Helsinki in July for more than two hours with only interpreters present, and the White House has not said what they discussed.
Multiple Democratic-led committees are battling with the White House over documents as they launch broad new investigations of Trump and his personal and political dealings.
On Tuesday, Cummings accused the White House of perpetrating “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction” in response to congressional requests for documents and witnesses.